While praying a litany of Our Lady, I was struck by one of her titles; Mother of a lost child. This title jumped out at me and spoke to my heart directly. We all wonder sometimes if our children are or will be lost. Will they be lost into a difficult culture? Will they disappear? Will they lose their faith? Will they lose their life?

It’s easy to fall into the thinking that Mary is a sinless Saint, that she couldn’t have struggled with the things that the rest of us do. That thinking is incorrect. How did she feel when she was told that, “A sword would pierce her heart?” How did she cope for the three days her beloved son was missing? How did she watch her son’s agony and death on a cross?

When we as youth ministers and parents struggle with raising children, we can be assured of Mary’s constant prayers for us and with us. She has worried as we worry and loved as we love. We can gain strength from her and courage from her example.

From a practical standpoint, we can use our positions in youth ministry to remind our young people of the dangers out there and how to prevent them.

1. Have a speaker come in to discuss Internet safety.

2. Explain why the buddy system helps keep teens safer.

3. Enroll teen drivers in defensive driving seminars.

4. Go over rules of field trips, NCYC behavior and other conference expectations.

5. Talk openly and honestly about how choices can affect their futures.

6. Have drug prevention program information available for teens in your groups.

Above all, we can remind our students to pray for God’s guidance and protection. We trust that God will watch them, even when we can’t. God bless.